By Apple Parry
Growing up chronically poor and having money insecurity…man, let me tell you how much of a soul-crushing combo that is.
Money insecurity does not always call for someone to be “poor” to have it. In fact any one can have money insecurity, including children.
Money insecurity is not just for adults, it’s not something that you’re allowed to know about when you turn 18.
Does it speed up childhood development and introduce empathy early on by taking on parents’ stress at a young age? Yeah probably, it happened to me, laugh out loud.
Having money as one of the instabilities in life is a very sobering experience.
From a young age you are taught that if you have money, you are cared for. Material objects can become desires. Even small things like having off brand snacks for lunch can be socially damaging.
Children growing up with this are known to expect less. Things like living somewhere not as nice as you wish, no new iPhones, no new gadgets, no new clothes, not even name brand food.
You can’t help which family you were born into, or how your parents pay for everything, you’re their dependent. But when kids see their parents struggling they understand why, and they take on some of that stress.
I limited myself as a way to not add to the existing stress my mom had when it came to money. I didn’t take dance classes, I stopped playing sports, and every time I asked for a little spending money it wasn’t easy.
And I wonder whether other kids are doing the same. This decreases students’ chances of getting into colleges, which they already can’t afford.
Whether a student receives financial aid is based on their parents’ income. How is that fair or smart in any way? The majority of parents will not be paying for their kids’ schooling, and even if they do, who says they have enough saved away?
How are 18 year olds supposed to pay for their own college when they can’t even get hired until the age of 14, and even then since that worker is a minor, their hours are limited? Even if a 14 year old got a job, and started saving every single one of their checks for college, they only have roughly four years to save up for a college education.
Being forced to go into adulthood without savings, therefore without security, is a huge idiot move, to parents everywhere. How are we supposed to enjoy life to the fullest when we have to spend our whole lives making money to get to the next month, not the next generation?
Every year when Christmas rolled around, I would hear my mom say that she can’t overspend again, and it’s going to be a small Christmas. And every year she would buy me more than she should have and more than I needed. Then for the following months we would scrape by, and before I knew it the overspending season was upon us again.
All my life I have felt the indirect pressures of money insecurity. But when I got my own job and started paying for a few things I finally got that firsthand experience.
I only understood the fear of not being able to pay for the vital things when I began having my own bills to pay. I started when I turned 18 in order to take some stress off of my mom and gain responsibility and preparation for the future.
I feel insecure about how much money I have in my account every day. I feel like no matter how much I save I will never have saved enough.
It is grounding, growing up very aware of how valuable money really is. I think it has been very useful to not have that particular shock, now that I’m supposed to be an adult.
Although money is overall just an inconvenience, understanding it is better than using it recklessly. We should be teaching kids how to save money from a young age, instead of expecting them to be reckless with it.
Those go-gurt and capri-sun kids are probably weirdos now anyway.